new music: stream garage rock prodigy benjamin booker’s debut full length #soundcheck
By Sound Check
August 13, 2014
Benjamin Booker isn’t quite a household name yet. But in just 2 short years, the 22 year old singer-songwriter has opened for Jack White, performed on Letterman, and had his debut record produced by Alabama Shakes producer Andrija Tokic. It’s just a matter of time.His self-titled album Benjamin Booker makes a strong case for Booker as the heir apparent to garage rock’s throne.
Words by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor
The record injects stripped-down garage with touches of soul, and R&B and a manic punk fire. Booker’s gravelly-yet-vulnerable voice presides over the record like a cross between Blake Schwartzenbach and Mississippi Fred McDowell. From opener “Violent Shiver,” the band kicks in high gear, pushing the tempos almost to the breaking point. Booker and his backing band have become known for their high-octane live shows, and unlike far too many garage bands, they’ve figured out how to capture the energy of their live set in the studio.
That dynamic energy translates over the slower songs, like “Slow Coming,” which adds a Hammond organ into the mix, for a song that could easily be mistaken for a lost Stax single. “Have You Seen My Son” shifts and turns through wails of feedback, tempo changes, and an extended drum solo. Rather than try to capture the “best version” of their songs, Tokic and Booker have engineered a rough sound that captures the feel of a private Benjamin Booker concert in your headphones. The vocals distort just a little, the band speeds up and slows down, the guitars aren’t always perfectly in tune. But it’s real, and it’s exciting as hell.
Benjamin Booker’s self-titled debut is out 8/19 and is currently streaming on NPR.com.
You can pre-order the album here.
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